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Just Blaze Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records!!!


 
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 4 weeks ago '14        #1
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Just Blaze Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records!!!
 

 
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visit this link https://www.complex.com/m .. -part-2/oh-boy


Cam'ron f/ Juelz Santana “Oh Boy”



Just Blaze: “There was drama about that song being Jay's originally, and that they stole Jay's beat or whatever. It totally wasn't like that. Originally, the beat was much faster. I made it as an up-tempo record for Bleek but he turned it down. I reworked it and slowed it down, but he still wasn't really feeling it.

“Jay walked in and heard it and was like, 'Yo, that's serious,' but he wasn't working on an album at the time. He had just finished Blueprint 2, so he was like, 'Hold that for me.' There's a million beats like that. Jay said the same thing about 'Pump It Up.' Sometimes he'll hear a beat and like it but he won't like it a year later when he's making an album.

“Hip Hop, who was A&R'ing at the time, would have a case full of CDs. One day, Cam and them came to the studio and asked Hip Hop if he had any beats. Hip played a bunch of beats and the 'Oh Boy' beat was on one of the CD's. They did the record, and Guru called me like, 'Yo, Cam and them is about to do this 'Oh Boy' joint.' I was like, 'Go ahead.' That was it. They did it, and they took it to radio like five minutes later, before I could even hear it.

“I was on my way to the studio to hear the record. I was at a lounge and realized that I was hearing it off the radio. That was when Power 105 had just started. There weren't any DJs around. It was automated and they were playing the original demo version that Cam had brought to Angie's show. They weren't even playing the finished version for the first few months, because everything was by computer, and they hadn't updated their computers at the station.

That goes to show you that every once in a while, you have a good song and you don't have to spend a million dollars to shove down the radio's throats. Every once in a while, you just have a record that's special. That was one of them.”




Cam'ron f/ Jay-Z & Juelz Santana “Welcome to New York City”



Just Blaze: “I originally made that for Freeway, but then Cam came in the studio. They'd been wanting to get Jay on a record, because up until that point, Jay hadn't done anything.

“Cam came into the room like, 'Yo, yo, I got 'em, I got 'em, I got 'em. I think he's going to do it.' He was going around saying it. Obviously, it's funny because of how the history ended up between them. Cam was genuinely excited that Jay was [going to be on that record].

“He was like, 'He's agreed to do it. He said he'll do it today, he just needs the beat. I need a beat, I need a beat!' I played a beat I was making for Freeway, and I was like, 'What about this?' He was like, 'Yeah, that could be it.' I went into the hook really quick and sang the 'Welcome to New York City' part, and that was that.

“I heard a voice saying 'Welcome to New York City,' so I sang it. [Laughs] A lot of times, people think that there's this big mystery behind things. Creativity, sometimes you don't know where it comes from. You might know what inspires you, but you don't know where the idea comes from.

“For me, that's what it was. I was like, 'Yo, this might sound good. 'Welcome to New York City!'' The concept of that record was about New York. Then, the song became a New York anthem. That was pretty much it.“




Cam'ron f/ Memphis Bleek & Beanie Sigel “The Roc"



Just Blaze: “Beans was trying to do some weird, overlapping rhyme scheme. I don't think anyone ever caught it. Jay's actually on that record for, like, two words. People don't realize that. It was towards the end of Beans' rap, he screams out 'Jigga Man!'

“I don't know why he did that, but it's there. That's probably the funniest thing about that record. They were all one crew under the same roof trying to make good music, but it wasn't like things were peachy all the time.

“I don't talk about my records like this too much, but that beat was retarded, and we all knew it. This beat is beyond me. It's special.

“I remember Hip Hop saying, 'We need a welcome to Roc-A-Fella record.' Everyone was in agreement, so that's what we did. This was actually the beginning of Dame and I falling out, because Dame wanted to take Bleek off the record.

“Bleek k*lls it and sets it off perfectly. Dame wanted to take him off because his claim was, 'We need to position Bleek as a young LL because the ladies love him so much. We don't need him to be on this record talking reckless or whatever, because we need to position him as the ladies man.'

“No one's saying anything. Everyone is just standing around, looking around. I don't even think Bleek was in the room at that time. Dame was trying to push things in that lane. I said to him, 'You're using the LL example. You forgetting about 'I Shot Ya'? You forgetting about 'I'm Bad'? Like you're forgetting about 'Can't Live Without My Radio'?'

“I said, 'Duke, those are all hard records. What made LL dope was that he could make a record like 'I Need Love' and then turn around and do 'Rock The Bells.' He could do a 'Hey Luv' or 'Lounging,' and turn around and do 'I Shot Ya,' or 'One Shot At Love' and turn around do 'Mama Said Knock You Out' and then take it to club and do 'Jingling Baby.'

“The girls already like Bleek. We don't need to push him off of hard records and onto girl records just for the sake of him being an MC that appeals to females, because that's not really where LL is at. Guys and girls liked LL in his prime, because he could do both and it was believable.'

“So, I spoke out very vocally about that, and I think that was the beginning of the fallout between Dame and I. We fought on that record. I remember saying to him, 'You've always said that you're not the music dude, you're the business dude. So why are you getting involved in the music?'

“Me and him had already had a little bit of tension, so I was feeling some kind of way. At that point, I'd been putting records together for the label for a couple of years, and I was starting to see more of the dynamics of how things worked. I was like, Let me do what I do.

“I respect everyone's opinion, and I take everyone's opinion into consideration, but that record was perfect. You couldn't ask for a better welcome to Roc-A-Fella record. I was like, 'The only thing that could make this record better was if Jay got on it, and Jay will probably get on something else. This is fine the way it is, and Jay being on it might affect someone else's verse.'

“Someone might have gotten their verse cut down, and I don't want to do all that. The record is dope the way it is. We went back and forth throughout the course of that night, but the record stood the way it was and thank God, because that's a mean one right there.”
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Cam'ron f/ Juelz Santana “Losing Weight Part 2”




Just Blaze: “'Losing Weight Part 2' wasn't done when Cam was at Roc-A-Fella. That was done when he was still at Sony. It was around the same time that I first met him and he met Ye and got the “H to the Izzo” beat, which ended up being an issue between them.

“Cam wanted the 'Losing Weight Part 2' beat because it reminded him of the Intro on The Dynasty. I kind of did that on purpose. Musically I made it a follow up to the sound of The Dynasty Intro, and I guess Cam always liked that beat. He wanted one that felt just like it and I was like, 'Well, I happen to have one that feels just like it right here.'

“It was cool. At the time, it was all love. Everybody was happy. Diplomats had their movement, Roc-A-Fella had some new blood. I had some new inspiration. It was great for everybody, but as we all know, it went the route it went in the end.”




Jay-Z “Hovi Baby”





Just Blaze: “Jay's maybe given me one or two concepts over the years, 'Hovi Baby' was one of them. That was an idea that he'd had for a minute. He had the hook in his head for a day or two, but we didn't have a beat for it.

“I made that beat the day Left Eye died. It was a TLC sample, a live version of 'Digging On You.' I was driving with my ex-girlfriend in the car and she had just died. All the radio stations were doing their tributes. We were in the car on 25th street, and they played that.

“That was the first song they played, and I was stunned. [My ex-girlfriend] was talking to me, but it was like everything she was saying became Charlie Brown's teacher in the background. She went from talking to just 'womp, womp, womp, womp, womp.' I couldn't hear anything else but this intro.

“I was freaking out like, 'I have to find this now.' I don't think it was on any album. It was the video version of the song. I went and found and downloaded the video, but it had talking on it from the dude who was announcing them. So I called every record collector store, and I found the 12 inch.

“The 12 inch had the intro open, and I went and started the beat. The sample itself was so crazy that it overpowered me for like an hour. It had so much going on that I had to figure out just what to take and how to take it, and then—as fate would have it—right when I nailed it Jay happened to walk into the room.

“He was like, 'Oh my God, you're a genius. That's it, how'd you know?' I had forgotten that we talked about the 'Hovi Baby' idea the day before. So he spit the hook over the beat and it worked.

“I gave him the raw beat as it was, and it was really just the drums and the sample. Afterwards, I went back and added the bass line, and some of the synths after he went and did his two verses.

“I didn't add the intro until we mixed it, but I told him I was going to add a crazy intro. That's when he said, 'I want to introduce my band right now, Just Blaze and the Blazettes.” Then I went back and added a live band thing after the synths.

“He had talked about setting it up that way, so I was like, 'Yo, even though it's not there yet, act like you're introducing a band. Then I'm gonna go back and add that stuff sonically.'

“I was surprised. I can get around on the keyboard. I'm not the greatest keyboarder alive, but there's times when I'll have it in my head before it's done, so I already had the vision in the notes and everything. Every once in a while I have my little moments where I can see the sounds, and that was one of them. I put that down and mixed it at Sound on Sound. We mixed that and 'U Don't Know' on the same day.

“He hit me back like, 'Yo, you're my favorite. You're the best. Keep going.' That record re-solidified our relationship. We already had a relationship, but he was super hype. If you had heard the original record and then what it ended up being, it wasn't completely different but it was night and day, in terms of how big it sounded.

“I do a lot of my records more with performance in mind than club or radio, and I think that moment was the beginning of that aesthetic for me. It was a really big-sounding record, not just a lot of instrumentation but the way the instrumentation was played. I was envisioning it being played by a band at the Garden or at a huge venue.

“It was like the start of where I would eventually end up, which was 'Show Me What You Got.” A lot of times I say that if you really listen to certain producers you can hear where they first start to figure out a sound versus where they actually nail it. 'Hovi Baby' was the precursor to 'Show Me What You Got,' in terms of figuring out that live performance sound.”




Jay-Z “Don't You Know”




Just Blaze: “Originally, that was a Nas diss record. The version that came out was not the one that was originally done. If I'm not mistaken, he recorded the Nas diss version, sent it to [Funkmaster] Flex, and then it went away. I want to say Flex played in one time, and that was it.

“Then, we changed it around. There were still subtle shots at Nas, but it wasn't a Nas diss record anymore. They needed that record from Jay for the Paid in Full soundtrack and Jay kind of wanted that to be his 'Who Shot Ya.' It wasn't for an album.

“Remember, originally, 'Who Shot Ya' wasn't on Ready to Die. They put it on there when they remastered it. He just wanted to have a dope record that was just for the streets. We had the record laying around for a while and decided to use it for Paid in Full.”
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 4 weeks ago '14        #3
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Jay-Z “Some How Some Way”




Just Blaze: “I found a dope sample and chopped it the right way, and Jay and Scarface had already done a couple of records together. At the time they had just done 'This Can't Be Life.' I want to say they did 'Guess Who's Back' right after we did this one. They were talking about doing an album together, the three of them. That would've been crazy.”



Jay-Z f/ M.O.P. “U Don't Know (Remix)”




Just Blaze: “We did the Blueprint in such a short period of time that we knew we had to get it out right away. Not that I rushed through 'U Don't Know.' We knew it was hot, but I wanted to do more with it.

“I always wanted to make it bigger and better, and make the drums hit harder, and the bass more in your face. I always say to myself, 'I wish I got the opportunity to do that over.'

“We always used to say that M.O.P should have been on that record, even though we all like the original. It's one of those things where you look back and say, 'Yo, M.O.P would have k*lled this.'

“We were all talking about it in the studio one day and, Jay didn't even tell anybody. I guess he was trying to surprise us, but he walked into the studio one day and was like, 'Yo, put this in.' Put in the CD, and it was M.O.P rhyming on 'U Don't Know.'

“Our jaws hit the floor. We were like, 'When did you do this?' I guess he had the conversation with them, and they made it happen. They did it to the original beat, but I said, 'There's no way I'm letting this come out with them rhyming over the instrumental. We've got to make this special.'

“This was my opportunity to do it all over again with all the things that I had learned since I had done the original, and all the ideas that I had with the original that I didn't get to implement. I'm constantly learning, so it was one of those chances to take a hallmark record of mine and revisit it with new techniques and new approaches.

“I had gotten a lot better at time stretching and my mixing had gotten a lot better. So the end result was a dope followup to a classic record, without it being disrespectful to the original. They sound really good back-to-back.

“'U Don't Know' the original comes on when I'm spinning, and it sets the tone. Then I play the remix, and it's the same beat but it's smashing you in your face so much harder that it really brings the whole thing home. So, its the same dynamic of starting something, but then really revisiting it later on and luckily I was able to.”




Jay-Z “Meet The Parents”





Just Blaze: “That was a completely different beat until we mixed it. For whatever reason, they didn't want to attempt to clear the original. I don't think there was an issue where they couldn't clear the sample, but it was too much of a process to get the sample cleared.

“Jay kept recording, and it was getting close to the date where we had to start turning stuff in. He was adamant about that making the album, because he wanted the story element on the album. He didn't really have a lot of those, so I reproduced the record in one night.

“That was all keys and live instrumentation. Sometimes you have a record on a sample, and you try to rework it on a rush job, and it doesn't turn out too well. I brought in one of the musicians to play on it, and it was one of those instances where it came out better than the original.

“We were doing a lot of creative stuff at that time. I did the scratches on 'It Was All A Dream' that Kanye did. On that record, those scratches are still going but the pitch is constantly dropping. A lot of DJ's come up to me and ask, 'How did you do that?' We did a lot of crazy tricks at that time.

“We did a lot of vocal tricks at that time using different software, and I think I printed his raw vocals on a CD. I used the CDJ to do the stutter and bring the pitch down. That's how I got his voice to do that. That's one of my personal favorites on there, just because of the instrumentation on there and the story was dope.

“We were doing a lot of creative stuff at that time. I did the scratches on 'It Was All A Dream' that Kanye did. On that record, those scratches are still going but the pitch is constantly dropping. A lot of DJ's come up to me and ask, 'How did you do that?' We did a lot of crazy tricks at that time.

“We did a lot of vocal tricks at that time using different software, and I think I printed his raw vocals on a CD. I used the CDJ to do the stutter and bring the pitch down. That's how I got his voice to do that. That's one of my personal favorites on there, just because of the instrumentation on there and the story was dope.

“I've always had a certain amount of that in my work, but around that time I learned to incorporate more and make it more apparent. It was a lot more subtle before that. There were still beat keys, there'd be bass and things like that, but my ear was still in training.

“It was after The Blueprint when I started taking my sound into my own hands. I had more time to practice, because Pro Tools had become more widely available. I was on Pro Tools since the beginning, but the plug-ins had started to become better. Things had started to become cheaper.

“It wasn't until 2001 or 2002 that you could have a Pro Tools rig in your house without it costing it $40,000 and taking up a corner of your apartment. My first Pro Tools rig took up a quarter of my apartment.

“We were at the point then, where we had laptops and portable hard-drives that were actually capable of keeping up. So when my ear was developing, I was able to practice more and be more on my own. I didn't have to rely on an engineer to translate my vision of the record.”




Dame Dash, Jim Jones, & Cam'ron “I Am Dame Dash”




Just Blaze: “That was supposed to be the outro to Freeway's album, but we never finished it. If you listen to 'I Am Dame Dash,' she's singing 'Free! I want to be free!' Dame heard the beat and was like, 'Let me give this to Cam.' I was like, 'I ain't doing nothing with it, go ahead.' We never even mixed that song, because I lost the beat. There was no tracking session to the beat. I lost the original tracking session, so they had to rap to the two-track.”
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State Property “Roc The Mic”




Just Blaze: “We were all living in Miami at the time. Me, all of State Property, and Guru got it in for a long time. Freeway and I were cool. He was just the new kid that was hanging around, but I liked him. He had a humble air about him, unlike some of the other guys. I used to bump heads with Sparks a lot, because he felt that he was entitled to beats from me. That's how he used to approach it.

“There was always some kind of drama. Freeway was humble, quiet and cool about it. He had a big verse out on '1-900-Hustla' verse. So, it was interesting to me that he was very humble in the way he moved.

“So it was like six in the morning. He walks in, like, 'Yo, do you think that I could get a beat some time?' I had the chops for 'Rock The Mic,' and the sounds that I was using in the ASRX at the time. That's what I was using for a short period of time.

“So I was like, 'Ah, alright. Fine. Here, hold that.' I made that beat in five minutes, gave it to him and left. I didn't think anything of it. I got back to the studio by 11am, and he had the whole thing done by himself.

“I went downstairs to the people, and everybody was up early at the pool blasting it. I was like, 'This is crazy.' Beans was like, 'Yeah, as a matter of fact, I'm getting on this.' I think Sparks might have been on 'Roc The Mic' originally.

“There was a bunch of records that he got knocked off of. There was originally a 'Roc The Mic (Remix)' that I don't think ever came out. It was a remix with everybody from State Property and Hov. They all had eight bar verses, and then Jay dropped a sixteen at the end. I completely forgot that it existed, and I came across it when I was shutting down Baseline.

“I don't know why that never came out. We did it, and then it sat for a few months. Eventually we put it out, and that was that. It did what it was going to do.

“You get that hot moment, and that was certainly mine. It wasn't like I didn't develop relationships, but it was at the point where all of a sudden I was super hot. There's a new kid on the block who's in a video every five minutes, and every producer that hits a certain stride hits that.”




Eric Sermon “React”




Just Blaze: “There's actually someone singing on that. I had a dude, I have no idea where he is now, but he came in and sang that. I had to learn a little Hindu to put it all together. It was inspired by something else, but we chopped it and made our own thing out of it.

“That was a record that I had, and I chopped words out of it to make it say that. Then I had the dude sing it, not knowing it was the whole thing about suicide.

“So, they had the whole thing where Eric had to jump out the window and people were like, 'Was that record a cry for help?' I was like, 'Nah, it was just a coincidence. It wasn't premeditated.'

“That came out at a time when doing that Middle Eastern sound was hot. The funny thing is that I had done that beat about three or four years before. I had given it to this girl named Filayan Knight. I had done it in my house years before and just thought it sounded cool.

“There was a girl that was A&R'ing an album for Redman, and she asked me for some beats. I remembered that I had that old beat sitting around, and I thought that Redman might have sounded good on it.

“I never heard anything back. She called me two years later and was like, 'Jermaine Dupri wants to cut you a check for that beat that has a weird Indian sound a*sociated with it.' Like I said, that sound hadn't become popular yet.

“So I was like, 'Yeah, tell him to hit me.' We emailed back and forth and his thing was, 'Yo I love this beat. I think you're onto something, but I don't know what I would do for a hook.' So I said, 'Alright.'

“It never happened. Two years after that, I'm sitting in a hotel in L.A., and I get an email from Angie Martinez. And I know Angie, like if I see her we'll speak, but we weren't like that to where we were just talking.

“She emails me like, 'This Eric Sermon record is crazy.' I was like, 'What do you mean? I've never met Eric Sermon in my life.' She's like, 'The joint...Me and Enuff just played it like four times in a row.' I'm like, 'I'm not in New York. I'm in L.A.'

“Ten minutes after I had gotten that email, I started getting mad emails like, 'Yo this record is crazy.' I had no idea what anybody was talking about. A manager hits me like, 'So, Eric Sermon just did a record to a beat of yours that he found. And J Records wants to pay for it immediately.'

“So I'm like, 'What is the record?' Finally, I get wind of what beat it is, and I guess what happened was that Eric was working on his album. He still didn't have what he thought was a strong single, so Redman was like, 'Yo, I got this old beat from that dude Just Blaze, listen to this.'

“They had a cassette and recorded the record on a Karaoke machine. That's what went up to the radio. Then, they sent me the Pro Tools files to mix the record.

“It was one of those instances where, when you're mixing and you take it apart and put it back together, you lose that initial spark that was there when you made the beat. I thought the mix was cool, but when I sent it back to Eric at the label he was like,'There's something missing, it doesn't feel the same.'

“I fought them on it at first, but I went back and listened to it and realized there was a certain element missing. It wasn't a specific sound, but the gel wasn't there in the mix. So we took the karaoke version, and we mastered that.

“That's what went out to the radio, and that's what made the album. It just goes to show that sometimes you don't have to over-mix and over-think a record. Sometimes that initial spontaneous spark is what matters.

“Eric was like, 'Go ahead and get your money.' So, I ate pretty nice off that record, because they put it out without permission. I know Eric was going around saying that was the first big check I had ever gotten.

“That wasn't the first big check I had ever gotten, but it was probably the biggest check that I had ever gotten up until that point. They knew they had a hit on their hands, and they knew it was unauthorized.”
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 4 weeks ago '14        #5
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Freeway f/ Jay-Z & Beanie Sigel “What We Do”



Just Blaze: “'What We Do' is the first street single and the first radio single. Everyone knows that now. Everyone at the label would even acknowledge that after the fact, but Dame was hell-bent on the whole dual song, dual video with the same beat. That was his vision and he was the CEO.

“It definitely hurt Allen Anthony. He didn't have the same budget to work his record, and his record was great. The video was exactly what that record needed. Had Allen Anthony had the resources to work that record the way it should have been, he would have had a whole different career.

“It didn't hurt Freeway at all, but it definitely didn't help him. It was a good song, but I didn't think it should have been his first single. By the time 'Flipside' came out, things at the label started to get into a bit of disarray. It was one of those things where the single didn't really get worked, and the video didn't get a lot of play, even though it was a huge record on the streets and in the club.

“It didn't need [a hook]. 'Even though what we did is wrong' is the hook in the same way that 'Oh Boy' is the hook on 'Oh Boy.' Jay came to check on Freeway in the beginning of the album and on the end of the album. He made two visits to the studio. The first time he came to hear the album, Freeway played him 'What We Do,' and Jay was like, 'I gotta jump on it.' Of course if Jay and Freeway are on it, Beans had to jump on it and that was that.”




Cam'ron f/ Juelz Santana “I Really Mean It”




Just Blaze: “For that record and for 'We Built This City,' the beat was sitting around for a long time. I didn't make that beat for anyone in particular. I had bought this dude's record collection. There was about 3000 records, and we put them all in storage except for one box.

“First things first, I never saw those records again. I put them in storage, and we forgot to pay the bill. That one box had that Major Harris record in there, and a lot of people don't realize that I sampled the live version of 'I Got Over Love' instead of the studio version.

“A lot of people don't know that, so when they go and do their originals mixtapes and whatnot, they play the studio version. If you listen to the studio version though, he never really says, 'I really mean it.' It's only on the live version.

“Anyway, it sat around for about a year. Cam, Jim and Juelz came to the studio one night, and they wanted to work. I hadn't seen them in a while, but they were like, 'What you got?' I didn't have anything that I had made for them specifically, but I had some old stuff and got them that.

“Cam left and Jim and Juelz did a record to it. I played a little bit of it two years ago on Shade 45. It was those two going back and forth, one of the first records where Jim really started rapping. Cam wasn't even on the record. He came in the next day and heard it and was like, 'Oh, nah, nah, nah. I'm taking this.'

“The whole beef with Nas had just started to pop off. It ended up being a Nas diss record to a certain degree. That bothered me a little bit, but the record was crazy. The record came out on a Funkmaster Flex mixtape, which is why you hear Jim say, 'Flex I got you.'

“Nas and Flex had beef a little bit at the time, so they were riding with Flex. On Flex's mixtape, it's actually playing too slow. If you listen to both of them, there's a pretty significant change. It irks me to this day, because every once in a while I come across somebody playing it off the Flex tape.”




Cam'ron f/ Jim Jones, Juelz Santan & Hell Rell “We Built This City”




Just Blaze: “One day I was at Baseline and Jim walked in and he goes, 'Yo Jus, I got this idea. I got this sample.' he's going on and on. There's this whole big build up and then he finally plays the record and I'm like, 'I did it already. I did it about three years ago.' He's like, Yeah right. I'm like, 'Hold up I'll be right back.'

“I come back with the beat on a CD. And he's bugging because I guess this is an idea that had been in the back of his mind already and being that I was working with them so heavily at the time he kind of took it as a sign that it was meant to be. Which it probably was and we went and did the record right away.

“If you listen to the record you'll notice that it sounds significantly different than what I had been doing at the time and that's because it was so old. I had done it years before. 'We Built This City' is very old so that's why it sounds [less polished than records I did with Jay].

“I didn't even make that beat for anybody. Sometimes you just make beats in your spare time when you're younger because you don't have anything else to do and it just sat around for a number of years. I will say Hell Rell was at the end of the record and he k*lled that.”
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+7   

 4 weeks ago '10        #7
ColeWorld  58 heat pts58
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Just Blaze!!!!


 4 weeks ago '04        #8
skillahmang  3 heat pts3
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Very strong post.
+12   

 4 weeks ago '08        #9
J_Clarity13  114 heat pts114
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dope
+4   

 4 weeks ago '14        #10
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1 OP
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Some older tracks covered


Prodigy f/ Bars & Hooks “Diamond”




Just Blaze: “I had known Prodigy for a number of years, tracing back to The Cutting Room. Me and P-Rod were always really cool. He used to come to my house and I would show him how to make beats.

“He had that group Bars & Hooks at the time. I was helping him put that record together. He was alright [at making beats]. It wasn’t great but he’d never made a beat before. Me and him would just go to the house and I’d show him how to make beats.

“Looking back, it’s crazy that I used to have Prodigy in my crib. My girl’s sitting there, making dinner, and he’s just sitting there on the keyboard trying to learn how to play keys. There was no smoking in my crib, so he definitely wasn’t high. He was cool.

“We had done a bunch of records already. That was just one of many he wanted to use for the album. We did about five records with Bars & Hooks and when we did that one, he was like, ‘I want to use this one for my album. The rest of them will be for Bars & Hooks’ album.’ We mixed it on a Neve console and I hate Neves. I like the way they sound, I’m just not comfortable.

“People hear ‘Just Blaze’ and they think it’s about weed. [The name Just Blaze] was a running joke with the guys from Harlem World. It was between Huddy Combs—Huddy 6 rest in peace—and Super Sam. Super Sam was another dude who was down with Ma$e’s management team at the time.

“Originally, they were saying my name should be Just Hot and I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ Somehow, from there it went to Just Blaze. I didn’t like the name. When Harlem World came out, they put Just Blaze on it and it sold 500,000 copies. I said, ‘Alright, let’s keep it.’”




Busta Rhymes “Street sh*t”




Just Blaze: “I made that when I went to go meet Busta for the first time. I was hot at the time, so he reached out. We ended up forming a really good relationship. He showed a lot of love.

“He called me and was like, ‘Yo, want to help me?’ So I went to Baseline and made two beats, that was the second one. He had already sold Jay Dee a mix, but he wanted mine to be the one that Jay Dee mixed.

“Busta was dead set on having Jay-Z and DMX on the same song. Originally, he was going to leave Jay on “Street sh*t” and have DMX on “While We Die,” but he really wanted to have them both on the same record. X had already recorded vocals on the other song, but he was stuck somewhere in Arizona so they couldn’t get him to re-spit new vocals on my beat.

“I was so hype. I was like, ‘Yo! X, Busta, and Jay on my record?! It would be insane!’ I still love that song, regardless. It’s a great record. I did a lot of records for Flipmode [Squad] that didn’t come out. I probably got a whole album’s worth of songs from Flipmode. We did a ton of records that Busta’s still sitting on.

“[Busta’s] cool. He knows what he wants, but he respects the producer’s vision. He takes direction very well, but he’s also very strong-willed about what he wants to do. He’ll let you do you, then he’ll go back and add his input and chop it up with you about it.

“It also depends on how much he knows you and how much he respects you. I think that’s the same with any artist. If they respect you, they’re going to take your word for the most part. If they don’t know you, they’ll probably tend to be a little more hands-on with it.”




Jay-Z “The Dynasty Intro”




Just Blaze: “Once I got a little attention off of doing the Ma$e thing, I was like, ‘I’ll follow it up with something else.’ I had already worked with Big Pun, k*lla Preist, Ma$e, Tragedy Khadafi, and I was working with a lot of talented lower-level artists.That grind eventually landed me a really big meeting with Universal Records, which led to me getting connected with Roc-A-Fella.

“From there, the game changed all over again. That was definitely the next big stepping stone, but I still wasn’t in the studio with [Jay-Z]. It took about a year before Jay took notice and started paying attention. Once we did get in the studio, it was like Batman and Robin.

That intro is probably the meanest beat on [The Dynasty]. The fact that I did it and that it was the first thing you heard when you put the CD in, it set the tone perfectly for that album.

“Duro, who’s a good friend of mine, mixed that record. Guru used to record everything and Duro used to mix the majority of the records. Now Guru pretty much does both. That was one of the first records of my career and it bothered me for years that I wasn’t present at the mix for it. It’s one of the only Jay records where I wasn’t involved in the mix.

“I didn’t get to hear the final mix before it went to mastering. So there were two separate loops that were playing at the same time and weren’t supposed to be, but Duro didn’t know that. There was no time to do anything about it.

“That singing in the sample wasn’t supposed to be playing every four bars. On top of that, there are two different samples playing that sound very similar, they were supposed alternate. Instead, because the two similar audio signals are playing in tandem, it has a flanging sound. It makes it sound like you’re listening to an airplane or something.

“It was a huge mistake but would I change it now if I could? I don’t know. I would probably want to find a way to fix that but I’ve heard so many times that people love it the way it is. The record has become a classic intro. A lot of people argue that it’s one of the best intros ever. When the people have spoken, sometimes you can’t mess with that. You’ve got to let it be what it is.”

+14   

 4 weeks ago '05        #11
sukafr33  94 heat pts94
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Damn where’s that I Really Mean It alternate version at?

I wanted to heard how I’m Ready came about
+3   

 4 weeks ago '14        #12
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1 OP
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Busta Rhymes “Everybody Rise Again”




Just Blaze: “There were definitely bangers on Genesis, but overall I think Busta was trying to figure out his next move. It was his first album away from Sylvia Rhone and the Warner Bros. system in general, and he was acting a lot at the time. He was trying to get re-situated. ‘Everybody Rise Again’ was my favorite track.”

“I liked it from a musical standpoint. The chords that I played on there were very dark and classical sounding, but the drums were knocking. We mixed that in Vancouver, and I remember never being happy with the mix.”

“He was working on a movie at the time in Canada. It might have been that Halloween movie. He was shooting that, still recording, and working on mixing the album at the same time. I wasn’t really familiar with that room.”

“Part of getting a good mix is knowing the room you’re in, and I didn’t know that room well. The drums definitely didn’t knock the way I wanted them to, but I love that beat regardless. That’s definitely one of my personal favorites.”




Jadakiss f/ Eve, Sheek & Styles P "It's Time I See You"




Just Blaze: “I was hot at the time, and Jadakiss wanted a beat from me. It was crazy because [the Ruff Ryders] had beef with Roc-A-Fella. Some of the shots on that record I think are directed at Roc-A-Fella.”

“It’s a little blurry now, but at the time there was tension between the two camps. Jay and X were obviously cool back in the day, so I don’t really know what the issue was. Oh! It was between Beans and Jadakiss. That’s what it was. I forgot about that.”

“Obviously, that’s long squashed, but I gave them that beat right before it popped off. By the time the record was done, I had unwittingly given them the record that they were throwing shots at Roc-A-Fella on. They were subliminal though, so I don’t think anybody was paying attention that closely.”

“I was never really happy with that record when it came out. If I had that beat and that sample now, I would destroy it. Back then, I was still figuring things out. Even though it was cool, it would’ve been that much cooler if I had gotten another crack at it a year later. For that time, I thought it was hot. It was a standout record on the album, that’s for sure.”

“We’re all constantly learning, but that particular sound that I eventually became known for—the big horns, the hard drums and the vocal chops, which I eventually mastered—I couldn’t make that record along the way.”

“I gave him the Pro Tools [files] to that beat, and they mixed it without me. So I was never crazy about the mix, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. You liked it, and I know a lot of other people did as well.”



Beanie Sigel “What Your Life Like 2”




Just Blaze: “That’s my favorite song on that album, and maybe my favorite Beanie Sigel song period. It was the second-to-last song on the album. Melodically, I’ve always loved that record. Actually, I’ve started to do it over. I was going to do it over for Marsha Ambrosius for the Late Night Early Mornings album, but we never got to it.”

“It was ironic, because somebody else wrote that record and sent it to her. I was sitting next to her when she got it, and I looked at her and was like, “What?” It’s one of those things where, like Guru says, ‘Rap is an art, you don’t own no loops.’”

“I feel like I own them, even though I don’t. I love that sample so much. I love the musicality of it. I love the harmony, the notes. The sample itself is just a beautiful piece of music, and it’s a disco record too. It’s not a soul record, even though it feels like it. It’s straight up disco.”

“Right after the part that I sampled is played, it goes into the whole disco thing. That’s what hip hop is all about though. It’s about finding that one break in that record that you would never expect to find it in and catching it the right way. So even though I don’t own that sample, I have great affinity towards it. I love it.

“That era is probably the peak of me digging. I was going record shopping four times a week and spending five to six hundred dollars every time. I was probably spending two or three thousand dollars a week on records back then. I did that for God knows how long.”

“That’s how I built up the bulk of the core of my record collection. I’ve always bought records. I’ve been buying records since I was a kid, but the core of my collection came about from my digging around that time. I don’t want to add up how much money I spent on records from 2000-2005, because it’s probably a house full of money.”




Beanie Sigel f/ Scarface “Mom Praying”




Just Blaze: “That’s probably the first record I mixed totally in Pro Tools. We were still mixing analog at the time. Everything was running through the console. That was the first record we tracked into Pro Tools, and we mixed it all in Pro Tools.

“It sounded decent. That was before plug-ins were really where they’re at now, in terms of their sonic character. Plug-ins definitely didn’t sound as good back then, but we made do with what we had at the time. We had to mix the record quick.

“Kanye [West] actually called me about that record one day like, ‘Yo, did you use this sample?’ and he played it for me and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s ‘Mom Praying’.’ He had just written a song and done a beat to it. He was tight because his song was really good, but he scrapped it because I had just done it for Beans. I actually heard the song. [Kanye and I] were both on the Harlem World album.”
+8   

 4 weeks ago '06        #13
n0xescapex  30 heat pts30
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Thanks for this! Just Blaze inspired me as a producer. Top 2
+7   

 4 weeks ago '14        #14
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1 OP
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Beanie Sigel f/ Jay-Z & Rell “Still Got Love For You”




Just Blaze: “I always liked that Issac Hayes loop. It had been used a million times. Smiff & Wessun with Mary J Blidge, and then Biz ‘Make the Music,’ Tragedy Khadafi did with ‘Grand Groove Pt. II,’ I mean I could go on and on.”

“It’s one of my favorite breaks of all time, but I hadn’t had a chance to flip it. They wanted to do a sequel to ‘Where Have You Been’ on The Dynasty album. I was like, ‘I think I got something for that.’ I wasn’t really sure where it was going to end up, but I did it anyway.”

“That’s a classic break beat. Everybody who was around in the ‘80s remembers that break. So when they heard it, they were just like, ‘Oh, yeah!’ At Roc-A-Fella there was never a big plan. We were at the studio every day, so it was just like, ‘Let’s just go in and make some hot sh*t,’ that was the formula.”

“On a technical/geek side of things, historically whenever anyone has used that break they always use the first four bars. I wanted to use all eight bars of the entire piano solo on that record, which in this day and age with Ableton and other time-stretching software, is pretty easy.”

“Back then you didn’t have the same kind of technology, so with the way I had to program the MP I had to do constant tempo changes for the entire second set of four bars. The timing of the loop was all over the place.”

“Sometimes when you’re sampling a lot of records and looping things, you can only chop things up so much. If the original band is going off beat or if they speed up or slow down, you couldn’t just take it and stretch it the way you wanted to.”

“I kind of had to play the MP like a turntable, and make the MP tempo speed up and slow down in tandem with the inconsistencies of the original sample. So it took me all of two or three hours just to get that right. Once we got that going, it fell into place quickly.”

“We had just put in a new speaker system in the basement of Baseline. It was a $60,000 sound system, custom designed, and Beans blew it. Beans blasted that beat so hard he blew them out the first night we got them. The whole thing about that system is that it wasn’t supposed to blow, so the company had to come back in and retooled it so it never happened again.”

“Beans was there all night and actually fell asleep. I don’t know how you do that. He fell asleep with it blasting, and that’s how the speakers blew. That was a crazy night. We had literally just unveiled that new wall of speakers, and they were dead 12 hours later.”

“After we got that rectified, I think it was Beans who came up with the idea to make it a follow-up to ‘Where Have You Been?’ That whole song happened within a day or two. Jay and Beans put down their verses, then Rell came and did the hook, I went in and played a live bass over it and that was it.”

“There’s certain break beats that I always identified with growing up or that I felt strongly about, so it was cool to have produced a track with that sample and have two of the best emcees rhyming on it. Although it’s been done a million times before, it was one of those things that you can cross off like your life checklist. It was like, ‘Aight, flipped that sample. Done.’”




DMX “I’ma Bang”




Just Blaze: “Folayan Knight, who used to A&R at Def Jam, was X’s A&R. She was like, ‘X is looking for beats!’ So, one day I gave her that beat. She was like, ‘X loves it. He wants to do it.’ I think he was working upstate in Albany at the time, so we hopped on a plane and went upstate really quick.”

“I walk in, and he’s got liquor in one hand and weed in the other. He handed me a blunt, and I’m like, ‘I don’t smoke.’ He said, ‘DRINK?!’ I was like, ‘No.’ He said, ‘What’s wrong with you producers?!’ I was like, ‘Nothing. Why does there have to be something wrong with me? Because I don’t smoke or drink?’ He was like, ‘Ah, I don’t know about you,’ but then he started laughing.”

“The original name of that song was ‘Just Blaze.’ The hook was, ‘Let it just blaze, let it just blaze! Let it just, let it just, let it just...’ but I was like, ‘Dude.’ Then, he k*lled the ‘I’m a Bang’ hook. He was mad cool. I’d only met him that one day, and I never saw him again or after. That was the only time we ever met.”




Jay-Z "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)"




Just Blaze: “The magic in that album was that it was done in three days. ‘Lyrical Exercise’ was done for The Blueprint as well, but he left it off. Afterwards he regretted leaving it off, because it leaked and it was huge. That’s why it ended up on the The Blueprint 2.

“At the time when we did the artwork and the track listing, we had to send out the artwork ahead of time and he couldn’t figure out how he was going to finish up the song. He only had one verse and it wasn’t until after we sent out the artwork that he said, ‘Oh, I know how to k*ll it now.’ So we used it for the album, but it couldn’t be on the official track listing.

“Everyone knows I made ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ for Ghostface. I’ve said that a million times, everyone knows that. ‘U Don’t Know’ was a work in progress. I had tried to do the beat a few times, and I couldn’t really catch it. Then it finally clicked for me one day, and as soon as it did Jay just went in and recorded his vocals.

“Jay built on that song little by little. He didn’t do the whole song in one shot. He did the first two verses and then a week later added more. Then he came back a couple of days later and did a little bit more.”




Jay-Z “Song Cry”




Just Blaze: “‘Song Cry’ is probably the most complex song on there. Originally when I did it, I had straight drums and that singing sample all the way through. I literally had 96 sample traps in that beat. If you listen to it, it sounds seamless. It sounds like one long smooth thing but that’s literally 96 sample chops all being triggered in that beat.

“When Jay did his verse all the way through, I went back and did the whole beat over. When he heard it, he called me and told me ‘Yo, you’re the best. I want you to know that. Right now you’re the best producer around. Nobody can take that from you and I’m glad you stuck around.’ Then he called Timbaland and said, ‘Yo, you cool but Just Blaze is the best.’

“He was so floored when he heard the way I redid the song and made it so much bigger and more intricate. I made it into an actual record. You would really have to hear the demo version to see how different it became. The vocal lead is the same, but musically it was a much more raw experience.

“When I was making that beat, two different girls from Def Jam walked in and was like, ‘Oh I like this,’ and the song wasn’t even done yet. That’s when you know you’ve got something. Girls generally don’t walk in looking for beats like that. One day if I can dig up the demo version though, I’ll let it out.”
+18   

 4 weeks ago '17        #15
O1as  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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+2   

 4 weeks ago '17        #16
DaQCKing  51 heat pts51
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My favorite producer
+1   

 4 weeks ago '14        #17
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1 OP
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 skillahmang said
Very strong post.

+6   

 4 weeks ago '14        #18
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1 OP
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 J_Clarity13 said
dope

+4   

 4 weeks ago '19        #19
Rudboi 
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If I’m not mistaken just blaze has not appeared on a jayz album since American Gangster. And even on that album they just threw “ignorant sh*t” on it and that song had already been out for 3 or 4 years.
+6   

 4 weeks ago '07        #20
Verse  76 heat pts76
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Just >>>>

 4 weeks ago '15        #21
ChoAssUp  79 heat pts79
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 4 weeks ago '19        #22
ArabianPrince  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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Bookmarked and propped. Good sh*t OP.
+2   

 4 weeks ago '17        #23
DaQCKing  51 heat pts51
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Would love to hear the story behind "Breathe". That was Fabs comeback record and I know the sample doesnt even say "breathe"
+8   

 4 weeks ago '06        #24
KE3 
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Saved this thread for later, great post.
+2   

 4 weeks ago '12        #25
King Jaffe Joe  39 heat pts39
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The Roc

Cams verse on that is iconic
+4   



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